09/13/09 - Kathleen Staudt

Professors Kathleen Stoudt & Tony Payan from UT El Paso regarding forthcoming conference on the war on drugs + Border Czar Allen Bersen & Lew Rockwell "Never Talk to the Police"

Century of Lies
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Kathleen Staudt
Download: Audio icon COL_091309.mp3


Century of Lies, September 13, 2009

The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.


For the salvation of the nation. This is the unvarnished truth on the Drug Truth Network with Reverend Dean Becker.


Dean Becker: Hello my friends, welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. Today our guest will be Professor Kathleen Stoudt and Tony Payan of the University of Texas El Paso.

[musical interlude]

Ah yes, it is Century of Lies. My name is Dean Becker. Here in just about three minutes we are going to bring in our guests, a couple of professors from the University of Texas El Paso, Tony Payan and Kathleen Stoudt. But I want them to first hear this interview that was done with Obama’s border czar and that is where we will kick off our discussion.


Dean Becker: The following comes to us from The New Republican interview with Obama’s border czar Allen Bersen.

Interviewer: The crux of this issue is essentially that the US by consuming somewhere around thirty billion dollars a year of Mexican drugs is sending that money back to the cartels and fueling this war. So the question is how to reduce our consumption in this country. And I am wondering whether you think clamping down on the border is a viable strategy.

Allen Bersen: As enforcement measures, they are necessary but they are not an entire strategy. But what fuels many events at the border is the huge consumption of drugs in this country and until we reduce the demand for drugs we should not expect to see the supply diminish or the organizations that try to smuggle them into the country diminish. We could do a much better job in reducing that demand and I think the secretary intends to lead that effort.

Interviewer: Well, with regards to reducing that demand, there are some that believe prohibition has failed miserably over the past hundred years, that there are severe economic costs and limits to clamping down on the border and so the only solution in the long term may actually be to legalize drugs. Is that something that you would consider?

Allen Bersen: You know this is what I call the strategy of throw up your hands and give up and come to the point where you say we are going to accept a tremendous evil and we are going to let organizations that are responsible for it actually win their purpose. I don’t believe that at all. I think we have to recognize that demand reduction is an important… important because it not only because it fuels violence in Mexico and organized crime in Mexico and gangs in the United States but because it is not good for the public health and safety of the American people.

This is a long term education effort akin to the effort that was waged against cigarettes. Our job is actually to work on demand reduction, not concede that it can’t be done. And our job is also to work to contain and defeat the criminal elements that capitalize on this weakness in our society.

Interviewer: You know you describe legalization as surrender, Mr. Secretary, but that is of course not how the folks arguing this line see it. They see it as something that could potentially decimate these cartels because Americans would no longer be buying drugs from them and our government could potentially make a lot of money off of it through taxes. But this is something that you would never consider.

Allen Bersen: I am certainly not there yet and I don’t think I could ever get there because there is so much more that we can do on both fronts, on both ends of this equation.


Voice: Do you mean, you are going to let them get it? It is going to be legal? You are going to let them get it? At least right now we don’t let them get it. I don’t want to let them get it.


Dean Becker: Alright, that was Winston Francis giving his opinion of Mr. Joe Blow. And we do have with us two professors University of Texas El Paso. Let us first welcome Kathy Stoudt. Are you with us, Kathy?

Kathleen Stoudt: Yes, I am, hi, Dean.

Dean Becker: Hi Kathy, good to have you with us. You were with us earlier this year and I appreciate you coming back. We have much to talk about this forthcoming conference and then let us bring in to our discussion Professor Tony Payan. Am I saying that right, sir?

Tony Payan: Pay-an.

Dean Becker: Welcome, sir I appreciate you being with us here on the Century of Lies.

Tony Payan: Thank you.

Dean Becker: Well, Tony, we haven’t had you on before and I have looked at your credentials. My gosh, Doctor Tony Payan. You have written numerous books, you get yourself involved in the community quite a bit. You understand the nature of this problem on the border. Please kind of give us a summary of some of the books you have written, please.

Tony Payan: Well, the first book was Cops, Soldiers and Diplomats and it is a book that analyzes the bureaucratic behavior in the war on drugs. And in that book I try to describe a little bit about the hidden motivations that bureaucrats have to continue on with a policy and why they become resistant to changes in policy. They themselves build stakes in the form of careers, employment, incentives and prestige on the very policies and the drug war being one of them of course.

The second book is The Three US-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security in which I try to think a little bit about how these three issues are defining the relationship here at the border and how difficult thinking in those terms it is. After September 11th, there was a securitization of issues in which everything becomes a matter of security and even immigration which we understand to be increasingly an economic phenomenon has become a matter of national security and how these items also build their own border security industrial complexes with a lot of hidden interests. And so those are two of the main books that deal with these particular issues, yeah. Kathy and I have just finished one on human rights that Kathy can tell you a little bit more about.

Dean Becker: Well and let’s do that. Let us bring Kathy into the discussion here. Let us talk about that book you are working on with Tony.

Kathleen Stoudt: Yes. Tony Payan and I and another colleague have a collection coming out from the University of Arizona Press in November, in mid November, and it is called Human Rights Along the US-Mexico Border: Gendered Violence and Insecurity and it focuses on human security issues as opposed to the kind of national security strategies that Tony just talked about that build big bureaucracies and spend a lot of tax payer money. Yet still have helped to maintain some of the worst violence in Northern Mexico that we have ever seen.

So our book focuses on the security issues, human security issues of people crossing the border, of every day life, violence against women, those kinds of issues. I remain convinced that when we have organized drug cartels allowed to do pretty much whatever they can do, we will continue to have police impunity, corruption and huge amounts of violence against women.

Dean Becker: Now, we are… I have invited you all on because actually a week from today, the day we are recording this the show will go out to the network around North America over this next week. You will be having a conference in El Paso. Kathy, tell us about it - the dates and times. It is still not too late to attend, right?

Kathleen Stoudt: It is still not too late. This is a precedent setting two day conference. Day one will be happening at the University, University of Texas at El Paso and day two will happen in downtown El Paso at the Plaza Theater. There will also be a Monday evening event in Juarez at a conference center where Dr. Sergio Fajardo, who is the ex mayor of Medellín, Columbia will be speaking.

We have six or seven panels. We are bringing experts from all over the world, especially Mexico and the United States from academia, from government sectors and from advocacy sectors to talk about all the different dimensions of this forty year old war, US war on drugs.

Dean Becker: Now, earlier this year, the city council of El Paso had a bill and one of the line items in it said something about we would like for the federal government to at least talk about the possibility of legalizing drugs but then it all kind of backfired on them, didn’t it? Tony, you want to tell us what happened.

Tony Payan: Yeah, I think we need to clarify the record on that particular incident because I think it was misinterpreted. The resolution which was drafted by the committee on cross border relations that I served in at that time, simply said that we have to open the dialogue. That we thought it was important to look at different approaches to the war on drugs, including a dialogue that may contemplate the decriminalization, not even the legalization, but the decriminalization of drug possession.

It was a very mild item and well, my goodness. The media in town and then the national media ran with that item and they began to misread it, that El Paso city council had gone off the deep end that they were crazy… that they had advocated the legalization of drugs, that it was a radical resolution and the mayor vetoed that resolution based on that.

I think it was disgraceful of Mayor Cook in El Paso who is a personal friend of mine and an ally, but still disgraceful that he misinterpreted that and that he did not take the stand and took advantage of the opportunity in the national media to clarify what this resolution was about and why it was said.

Instead… I think that because the election for mayor was in May, he simply said I don’t want my contenders to throw on my face the idea that I was advocating legalizing drugs and therefore I am going to veto it. And I thought it was a shame that he didn’t clarify what it was. But I am glad that he didn’t to some extent that he did not support that resolution because that is exactly what prompted us and a city council member, Berto O’Rourke whom we have a lot of respect for to organize this particular conference and to try to open up the debate. In the end it gave us the courage and the momentum to continue this dialogue.

Dean Becker: Yeah, go ahead…

Kathleen Stoudt: …all eight members of the city council voted for this resolution and it was only the mayor that decided to veto it. You know, Tony and I are political scientists. We believe in policy analysis. We believe in reasoned debates, we believe in evaluating evidence and that is not really such a radical thing to be all about.

Dean Becker: No, it’ is not. And correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t there at least veiled threats that they would cut the money supply both state and nationally if they were to proceed?

Tony Payan: Yes, there were some of those threats that came down although like you said they were veiled. It wasn’t very clear, but congressman Reyes was suggesting that we may lose some funding from the federal government, that there might be some controversy coming down from the state of Texas as well although those threats, they were diffused and we never really understood who exactly was saying it and why and what it was that it was going to be effected – what items on the budget were going to be effected. But in the end the mayor vetoed that and [ ] that particular item. But in the end, here we are debating this very issue partly encouraged by the mayor’s veto.

Dean Becker: Exactly. Now, as I understand it, the Sunday night before the conference actually gets rolling, is that when the gentleman from Colombia will give a speech in Juarez?

Kathleen Stoudt: That is Monday night, Monday night at six. And Sunday afternoon and evening, that is when all the speakers are going to be coming, we expect to have quite a lot of not only local and regional media people but also people from New York Times, LA Times, San Antonio, Houston, et cetera. And someone is even coming from The Guardian Observer in the UK. So we will probably have press events with the speakers and the planning committee members.

And then on Monday beginning at 8:30 and going all through the early evening, we are going to be having panel and panel but we won’t be having dreary presentations and papers read. We just want short statements from the speakers and then we are going to have moderated dialogue more or less like Meet the Press style and then we are going to open up for Q and A from the audience.

Tony Payan: I am very glad that Mayor Fajardo is coming to town because I have a couple of important questions for him. I don’t believe that the war on drug in Colombia has been won at all. I think that Colombia continues to be mired in violence.

I mean, we are paying attention to the Mexican violence today but I think Colombia continues to be a society with high levels of violence. And I think that even though the great Colombian cartels like the Medellín cartels and the Cali cartel are gone, the production of drugs in Colombia continues. And most cocaine in the world is still produced in Colombia and exported from Colombia even if the Mexican cartels are now the major distributors at the wholesale level. Now that is an interesting thing because he may be able to explain to us exactly how the business has evolved and changed and transformed itself, adjusted to the new circumstances in Colombia and what may happen to Mexico.

And the other thing is that recently Argentina and Colombia before it and Mexico even more recently have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal consumption and so I wonder if this has had any effect on the violence in Colombia. It is not my impression that it has made a difference on the violence because in the end, as I put it in a piece to the New York Times, it is sort of a gigantic step but also a very short and small step.

Gigantic because it is I think moving in the right direction which is to begin to think differently about drugs and drug use and distinguishing between use and abuse and perhaps medicalizing abuse. But also a short step in the sense that it still commits the states, Colombia, Mexico and certainly the United States to continue the war on drugs as we know it. Just not on the user.

Dean Becker: You know, we had that clip earlier with border czar Allen Bersen and he was talking about you know that this throwing up your hands, it is handing over the reins of this to the cartels but nothing could be further from the truth. The cartels do not want legalization, do they? Kathy, you thoughts?

Kathleen Stoudt: No, they do not. This is one of the most profitable industries that exists and if products are grown inside the United States and if there are no gangs and organized crime cartel groups that have to make profit from their work, this could change the dynamics.

Certainly there would be a transition time period. I am not certain how long a transition would be and what it would be like. But I think that decriminalization would pull the rug out from under the cartels in Mexico and it would free up law enforcement to focus on really serious activities.

Dean Becker: OK, friends, we are speaking to two professors from the University of Texas El Paso, Mr. Tony Payan and Kathleen Stoudt. Tony, that same border czar said something to the effect that we have got to treat this like we did cigarettes you know and reduce the demand for cigarettes but we are not doing this the same way, are we?

Tony Payan: Well, it is very unfortunate that… I mean, I think he is right. I think we ought to medicalize drug abuse. First of all we ought to distinguish what type of more refined policy that distinguishes between drugs and then we have to have a policy that distinguishes between use and abuse and perhaps medicalize abuse and treat people like they are addicted to alcohol or perhaps tobacco and initiate campaigns.

I mean he is right that we have had a forty year, fifty year sustained campaign anti tobacco campaign. In 1960, fifty-five to sixty percent of the population, adult population smoked cigarettes. Today it is closer to twenty percent or so. And so I think that to some extent I think we have succeeded in making it without making it illegal, in making it something that is just not desirable. That people themselves, through the education process learned that it is perhaps not a good thing to do.

But one thing is to understand it. One thing is to say it. And the other thing is to put your money and your effort into a policy like that and I think that even if the circumstances, the political and policy circumstances are not there to move in that direction. And so he is pretty much someone akin to John the Baptist preaching in the desert I guess.


Kathleen Stoudt: Yeah, I mean the big difference is that we don’t prohibit tobacco sales. We don’t prohibit alcohol. We regulate it. And as one of our speakers, Terry Nelson from LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition has said – I have heard him speak before – it is just too important to be prohibited. It has to be regulated.

Dean Becker: Yeah. Actually control these so called controlled substances. I couldn’t agree more. You know, speaking of Terry, he has been in Iraq once again serving our nation. You know I am really proud that a guy like him is you know a member of LEAP and speaks on our behalf but you have many other fine individuals. Judge Jim Grey is going to be attending this as well. Judge Jim Grey stood up now almost twenty years ago pretty much alone. Superior Court judge and began speaking of the need to actually control these substances. Your thoughts on that?

Kathleen Stoudt: Yes, we… people should look at our program and a little bit later I will give the website. But he has got a long slot on Monday during the middle of the day to talk about his thoughts. We also will have his book available. And he comes – we have people from all parts of the political spectrum.

When I was looking into his bio, he has actually run as a republican, run as a libertarian for different offices. And so he believes in limited government and he probably abhors the waste associated with big bureaucracies and the prison industrial complex that puts lots of people in jail for possession, for use and wastes their lives for several years and sometimes wrecks their lives forever.

Tony Payan: Yeah, you know I was having a conversation with somebody from Texas and I invited her to come down to El Paso. She is a respected pharmacologist who has done research on these particular issues from kind of a medical, pharmacological perspective and she gave me a strange number and in the end she declined to come to the conference.

And I said look, all voices are welcome. No voice is indispensable. There is… we want to have a balanced dialogue. We want to have all different perspectives here. But at some point I was very curious about the fact that she said that there were two hundred billion with a B dollars invested in drug treatment.

And I said I am sorry, I am not even sure what exactly she was talking about. I mean, what is it that she was counting? I don’t think the government invests anywhere near even if you count all three levels of government in every state every county and the federal government, I don’t even think we approach a fraction of two hundred billion dollars in treating drug addicts so I am not even sure where those numbers come from.

But in the end, it tells you that there is a lot of disagreement and there are a lot of people who have different views and count the numbers differently. And so we hope this particular conference will clarify a little bit about that particular debate.

Dean Becker: Now, it is not too late as I said earlier to get involved. Kathy, point them to the website and kind of give them an audio tour of what they can find there.

Kathleen Stoudt: OK, the website is http://warondrugsconference.utep.edu and when they open up to the home page they are going to see a description and some good pictures of the gritty nature of this war on drugs as seen from both sides of the border. They are going to see a program and the speakers for Monday and Tuesday, the 21st and the 22nd. They will see speaker bios and pictures. They will also see a place to register. We just want to make sure we have enough space for everyone. We already have about a hundred fifty people who have registered.

And there is information about hotels to stay at and being academics, we also have a resource list, four or five pages of books to read and articles to read and websites and so on. So it is a good full website and I hope people will visit it. Again, warondrugsconference (that is all together) dot utep dot edu.

Dean Becker: Now, we got just a couple of minutes left. I want to kind of give you one minute each. Tony, if you will, kind of give us a summary of what you want to bring to this conference.

Tony Payan: Well, I think that we ought to get all perspectives involved. I mean this is a, we hope that it is a well balanced conference and I hope that people come to this conference not with their ideologies and their ideas about the war on drugs all set and I think some of them will. But rather that we will engage in discursive democracy.

That is in the idea that we have to carefully listen to each other and carefully listen to the reasoning and the particular logic behind each position and then begin to transform our own position in such a way that we arrive at what is best for our society. If we do that I think we will arrive at better policy and I certainly hope that this will be an exercise in democracy as opposed to what has been going on for example with the health care debate where the incivility has just reigned supreme.

Dean Becker: Alright, Tony Payan, thank you so much. Kathy you have about a minute left. Your closing thoughts, please.

Kathleen Stoudt: Well, I hope that we also have dialogue. We deliberately invited people with different points of view. I myself am going to listen carefully to what people have to say but I do hope that we will be able to empower more people, more organized groups to work at the local, state and national levels to try to influence bureaucracies that seem to be set in stone and politicians who seem to be too afraid to even talk about this issue publicly.

Dean Becker: Alright. One more time, that website, Kathy.

Kathleen Stoudt: It’s http://warondrugsconference.utep.edu

Dean Becker: Alright, I will see you all in a week. I appreciate you so much being with us here on Century of Lies and I am really looking forward to the conference.

Tony Payan: Thanks so much.

Kathleen Stoudt: Look forward to seeing you there too, and everybody else.

Dean Becker: Alright, thank you all.

Kathleen Stoudt: Thanks, bye bye.


The following comes to us courtesy of Lou Rockwell. It is from a video, Never Talk to the Police.

Lou Rockwell: Now, here is the easiest question you will ever get from a client in all the days of your life. Question: Hey, the police are here. They want to talk to me. What should I do?

Well, I could give you my answer to that question in case you haven’t already guessed it but why don’t we go to a real expert? Just as Robert Jackson, a prosecutor’s prosecutor. Like me, he began his private practice in Buffalo, New York years before I did and after that he served as general counsel for the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the US Department of the Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission, assistant US Attorney General of the tax division, later the Solicitor General and the Attorney General of the United States and then the chief US prosecutor for the Nuremburg trials. That is an impressive resume.

Years later, when he was justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Jackson stated quote, any lawyer worth his salt - today we would say his or her - will tell the suspect, his client, in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances. That is the title of my talk. I am here to explain to you the surprising and somewhat counterintuitive, and admittedly unlikely reasons why Justice Jackson was right.

I remind you of this because I am amazed, we are all amazed by the frequency with which see newspaper articles coming out all the time from people who really ought to know better who say, well I’ll talk to the police. I mean, after all, I am a senator, I am a, OJ Simpson, I am an experienced, highly polished individual… I have got a lot of experience with public relations. Even criminal defense attorneys.

There was a local news story here in the Virginia Pilot just a couple of months ago about an experienced criminal defense lawyer who ended up getting convicted of criminal assault because he talked to the police. He was accused of having assaulted another attorney in the hallway. There were no other witnesses to this. A woman said that he grabbed her by the throat during an argument over a case. He denied it.

At trial it was his word against hers. He said I did not even touch her. But unfortunately for him, when the police had approached him earlier and said would you be willing to answer some questions, he said, sure. Why not? I am an attorney. I am a criminal defense attorney. I am savvy, I am sophisticated. I have got oratorical prowess. I am accustomed to dealing with the police, by all means.

And then there was a conversation that was not recorded. When the case went to trial, it was no longer his word against hers. Because when he testified at trial I never touched her, the officer took to the stand and testified, well when I met with him, he said he did put his hands on her throat, but just as a joke. Then he had to take the stand again to say that is not true, I never said that. I never admitted to you that I… Now it is his word against two people. Who is telling the truth? We’ll never know for sure but he was found guilty.

Dean Becker: We’ll have more from Lou Rockwell on next weeks Drug Truth Network programming.


Five times as many people die from alcohol each year than from illicit drugs and the misuse of legal pharmaceuticals. Fifteen as many people die from poor diets and activity patterns. Twenty times as many people die from tobacco.

Why arrest one point six million people each year for drugs? Does jailing drug users make more sense than jailing overweight people and smokers? Let us keep America’s drug problem in perspective.

Common Sense for Drug Policy. csdp.org


Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That is Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the street. Corruption is why we win.


Dean Becker: Yep. Corruption is why the drug war works so very well. I want to thank once again Professors Tony Payan and Kathy Stoudt - professors at the University of Texas El Paso. We will be attending their conference next week and reporting it for you good folks.

And I remind you once again that there is no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data - no reason for this drug war to exist. We have been duped. Visit our website: endprohibition.org. Prohibido esta evilesco.


For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker, asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition: The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT, Houston.